Sunday, April 4, 2010

On the nature of bead embroidery...

I stumbled upon bead embroidery by an accident about 5 years ago, as I picked up a Bead and Button magazine at a local craft store looking for something fun to try.

There was a bead embroidered cuff bracelet featured and it seemed challenging and fun, so I gave it a try, and that, My Friend, was the beginning of an avalanche! The first piece only contained one dichroic glass cabochon and all seed beads and had a really simple backing with no finish on the edges. I used this new technique to make more bracelets, all different designs and ended up giving them away for family and friends who loved the new pieces and encouraged me to make more.

Throughout the years I learned new stuff and experienced with different additions to my work, such as Swarovski crystals and gemstones, polymer clay face cabs and whatever I could lay my hands on.

I got more efficient at the actual process, when I first started out it took me 35 hours to make a cuff, now days, I can sometimes complete a necklace in that time. The design of course takes longer and some of the more intricate pieces take far longer, I only write about time here because that's the most commonly asked question concerning my work, and so just to give You an idea.

I , however think, that putting in all the time is simply not enough to make great bead embroidered jewelry:

One has to have a great design, so the finished piece sits where it should, is comfortable , but also, and this might be the most important part, the composition has to be right.

I dislike symmetry. Indeed very much so. I have yet to create something that is symmetric. More important then that, to me, is organic flow. It has to be balanced.It has to have life , and life is imperfect, and that makes is unrepeatable and precious.

Colors are important: If one was to use colors that are all on the same scale between dark and light, the outcome will be a muddy mess. On this I mean, is that if You were to take a black and white picture of a bead embroidered necklace , the different colors should be different sorts of grey , if it's all the same, the visual effect in the color world will not be pleasing. Sort of like with drawing or painting.

The way I chose my colors is first thinking about the jewelry, getting a mental image of what the finished piece should feel like, then going through all my beads and picking different shades of the chosen colors. It's a good idea to only pick about three colors, You can always use different shades of these colors.



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